Wednesday, November 30, 2011

USAT | Rudd Davis to head new Travel Media Group

[Updated at 3:12 p.m. ET.] Rudd Davis, USA Today's vice president of business development since August 2010, has just been made president of the newly-created USA Today Travel Media Group.

In a statement, the newspaper said: "Davis will direct the overall strategy and implementation of business tactics with USA Today's travel partners, offering the on-the-go audience a broader array of information, products and services as USA Today diversifies its business focus. He will be based in Los Angeles."

USAT didn't say whether Davis' business development post would be filled.

Prior to joining USAT, Davis, 31, was the founder and CEO of action sports site BNQT, which Gannett bought in January 2008.

My earlier post: USA Today has hired another vice president: Bill Cronin, a MasterCard executive, will be VP of marketing, responsible for overseeing strategic marketing, events, special projects, creative and project management, the newspaper said today.

It appears Cronin is taking the job held by Ed Cassidy, a longtime USAT employee whose July dismissal angered many Gannett Blog readers.

Cronin will be based at headquarters in McLean, Va., and report to Sandra Micek, senior vice president of marketing.

For those of you keeping track, Cronin joins Micek as at least the 21st senior executive hired or promoted since Publisher Dave Hunke reorganized the paper in summer 2010:
  • Maureen Consavage, VP of advertising/New York
  • Mark Pesavento, VP of content, Sports Media Group
  • Peter Lazarus, senior VP, head of multimedia sales, for the Sports Media Group
  • Dave Morgan, senior VP of content, Sports Media Group
  • Laura Del Greco to the new position of VP of client solutions
  • Scott Singer, to the new position of VP of business innovation
  • Micek
  • Christine Allegro, general manager of the Your Life vertical
  • Susie Ellwood, newly created position of executive vice president and general manager
  • Tom Beusse, to the newly created position of president of the Sports Media Group
  • Jeffrey Wilks, to the newly created position of SVP of brand marketing; he lasted just seven months
  • Denise Brodey, newly created post of general manager of Your Life vertical; she lasted just six months
  • Jeff Dionise, newly created VP of product development and design
  • Heather Frank, newly created VP of vertical development
  • Steve Kurtz, newly created VP of digital development
  • Ross Schaufelberger, newly created VP and general manager of the new USA Today Sports
  • Rudd Davis, VP of a new position, business development
  • Brad Jones, SVP of circulation
  • Myron Maslowsky, SVP, group finance and administration
  • Susan Motiff, VP for strategic planning, analysis and support


  1. The end game is to create a communications company based in McClean. All publishers and VPs will be gone at local sites.

  2. The end game is to create as many SVP/VP positions as possible and to make their accomplishments foreign to the rest of us.

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  4. So let me get this straight: One of the guys responsible for creating that web site with the Thanksgiving Hotties and other soft-porn galleries was a VP of business development at USAToday and is now in charge of some nebulous "Travel Media Group" for USAToday ... Sheesh!

  5. Can anyone point to something that Rudd has done for USAT? I used to feel sorry for the guy because it was so obvious that he was out of his league, but he has proven to be as arrogant and as useless as the rest of the senior USAT management team. Aside from Hunke and Ellwood, I don't know a single person that thinks Rudd has done anything worthwhile at USAT. After all, the vertical strategy was his brainchild and look at where that has gotten us.

  6. Wow. The gang that formed a circular firing squad.

  7. Good luck Bill Cronin trying to fill Ed Cassidy's shoes. But I guess his lips can pucker up better to kiss Maryam's butt than Cassidy who refused to do it.

  8. When Dave Hunke confirmed Ed Cassidy's departure in a memo, he wrote: "Cassidy’s position of VP/Communication and Event Marketing for USA Today was eliminated today."

    Then, today, we see that Cronin will be a vice president of marketing, "responsible for overseeing strategic marketing, events, special projects, creative and project management."

    So was the job really eliminated?

  9. Going back to Match Game - "Who's blank, do I have to blank, to be the Vice President of Blankety Blank?"

    Charles Nelson Reilly?

  10. 5:58, I'm with ya, brother. What do Hunke and Ellwood claim as his accomplishments? When I was at USA Today, I had to produce results. What does this kid claim he's accomplished since joining USAT?

    So, what's the structure of this new group? Who reports to Rudd now?

  11. Good point, Jim. I was thinking the same thing. Cassidy should sue but I bet he signed some "I won't sue you" agreement when he left.

  12. Do African Americans still work at USA TODAY? Wow! Twenty promotions and not one AA in the bunch. Same for editorial. Guess Gannett's out of the diversity business!

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  14. 10:43, the company probably decided the token promotions and hirings were not productive in the long run. Of course, anyone with more smarts than a houseplant would have realized that long ago, but we can't have everything.

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  16. Gracia,
    Let's get one thing straight here. Rudd Davis and across Schaufelberger both sold BNQT to USAToday in 2007. BNQT has never achieved more than $2mm in revenue in a 12 month period.

    Yet, Ross is a VP and GM and Rudd is another VP within USAToday. Are you kidding me? Is this really how high Gannett aims?

    This is a company made up of a bunch of misfits and failures. David Payne, another failed entrepreneur that ran back to corporate. Maryam is a political crony and works the system "real well". She hires people who scratched her back.

    Basically, we have the next leadership team of Gannett right here. What have they accomplished? What lasting mark are they going to leave on Gannett?

    Gracia stop hiring rookies and start bringing in real talent. This should be your number one job as CEO.m STOP BEING A BEAN COUNTER

  17. Rudd can roll the best joint. He is a great dude to party with, although that guy can eat some crazy shit after a good night partying!!!

  18. 6:01 - Telling Gracia to stop being a bean counter is like telling a horse to stop being a horse. What else has she ever been?

    Face it, Gannett used to be a newspaper company. Now it's being run by bean counters and witless marketing executives. God help us all ... especially the stockholders.

  19. What I think we need is another e-mail from either Suze or Maryam. That'll set us straight.

  20. Are you saying David L. Hunke actually lied to Ed Cassidy? Lied to the staff? Now that would be a first, wouldn't it?

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  22. This is sp wrong. But hey, there's no place he can go from here. Except out the door.

  23. BNQT was a very minor player in extreme sports. For Rudd to parlay that into his current status is to be the master of selling nothing. And given all the VP hires with no newsroom expansion, perhaps that's the strategy -- selling nothing.

    Worked for Seinfeld, right? If they hire Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as a VP, this might work.


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